Why Is My Cockatiel Pulling Feathers From Under His Wings

close up girl kissing head of cockatiel
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I hid the coca cola box and he is already looking for it.


I did purchase from you the 15 watt Featherbrite light bulbs. Will that be enough light over the cage?


I have already spent $800.00 on vet bills trying to get to the bottom of this and you make perfect sense to me.


The plan is going into effect TODAY!


Thank you so much Mitch for advising me. I will let you know.


For the greater good:-)


The light is fine just no higher than 6 inches above the cage


I use these for swimming (and blocking human speech)


It may take a second time, you’ll within about a week  – positive thoughts grasshopper


Hi Mitch

I did have the bird sexed when I got him and I was told that he is a male.


So he is waiting for some girl bird?


This is whats called a conundrum – let’s look for behavior changes after the 3 days


What is the most natural and best food for my cockatiel?


I have been giving her pellets and some seed. She is an egg layer and is 8 years old. Thank you so much.

Jessica S.


Dear Jessica


The diet sounds fine.


What my concern is the egg laying.


That needs to stop for your birds health.


The egg laying is caused by hormonal activity that needs to stop.


Is she a pet that you handle?


Are you stroking her body below the neck? If so, it needs to stop now.


Birds don’t need that from us, she can preen her whole body below her neck herself.


By stroking her below the neckline you are stimulating her sexually.


She does not need you as her sexual partner.


Getting past that.


The next thing to correct is her lighting.


To keep a birds hormones level they need a full spectrum bulb placed 6 to 12 inches above their cage and on a timer 12 hours on and 12 hours off.


(Figure 8:30 am to 8:30 pm in the summer and when daylight savings time comes, it is automatically 7:30 am to 7:30 pm. No need to adjust the timer)


If your bird is a chronic egg layer and or masturbator then a 72 hour light treatment should stop that.


You would put your bird in its cage with the lighting set up as mentioned above. But for 72 hours (3 solid days and nights) you would leave the light ON.


The bird will eat, call out, sleep, play, everything as normal but the light must stay on.


This will reset the circadian rhythm in her brain and after this has been completed within a day or two the egg laying, broody behavior will be done with.


Your bird’s demeanor, personality, and health will improve.


He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.